Active recovery is a workout that doesn’t tax you mentally or physically, it is basically the new fitness but under a new name. Today training and fitness go hand in hand. People every where have discovered the benefits of training and not just working out.
Working out is about feeling good and getting in some solid all around movements with some weight training thrown in to boot. Training requires a more in-depth knowledge of self and dedicated time in meal preparation, mobility, strength work, conditioning and some skill work if you are a cross fitter. So in other words there is more time before and after the workout that are involved with training for a purpose or specific physical goal. Working out, starting a habit of making it to gym is on the other spectrum. This is a phase when a thirty to forty five minutes or less is needed to get someone just in the habit of making it to the gym on regular basis. This will consist of some mobility work, a dynamic warm-up and a full body strength and conditioning program that will work the body just enough to produce endorphins and make you feel accomplished. When starting up a new training program you can build a great foundation with minimal work if you are untrained for a period time such as six to eight months of not working out or a sedentary person new to the gym. All this means is the body works hard to adapt to the light workouts but sometimes it feels like a lot of hard at first.
Active recovery can be a brisk walk around the park or around your neighborhood block and a bike ride with the family, even a hike which is great for getting out of the gym to clear the mind. An active recovery workout stimulates the body just enough to get the blood to circulate at a faster rate yet not elevate the heart rate too high to simulate a higher intensity workout. Active recovery is great as a way to refresh the mind and body to stay mobile and to promote the healing of nagging injuries or to keep the body loose. When training at very high intensities such as lifting near max weights or elevating the heart rate is a common week of training for cross fitters, weightlifters or people that follow a strength and conditioning program.
It is ok to back off on a workout if you tone it down, but that is your call or your coaches call. Remember we are the only ones that know if we are pushing hard enough to get results or if we are pushing it hard fore too long. When we train hard and often we must make sure that we eat appropriately ,hydrate,rest,mobilize and prepare before and after the workout to maintain high training volume and intensity. Usually when our performance drops or the weights feel heavier than normal and conditioning workouts that we normally push through at a steady pace become more effort on both the mind and body. This is a good time to drop to lighter weights and utilize less taxing conditioners. This also means knowing your body enough to know when to incorporate an active recovery day.